20 Oct 2005

More on the judge

Posted by dumpendebat

According to an article in Tuesday’s Post, the judge I called an “asshole” has explained his bizarre decision to lift the protective order: he says it was all a big mistake, blaming it on a “clerical error.”

Prince George’s County Judge Richard A. Palumbo, facing criticism for dismissing a protective order against a man who later allegedly set his wife on fire, did not intend to dissolve the order at all, his attorney said yesterday.

William C. Brennan said the District Court judge’s dismissal occurred through a “clerical error,” although he did not specify whether the mistake was Palumbo’s or that of a courtroom clerk.

On Monday, the judge sought to correct this “clerical error” by “altering the docket entry to reflect that [the victim]’s protective order is in effect until July, as was originally intended.”

Apparently, when Judge Palumbo said, “This case is dismissed,” he meant that the motion to lift the protective order was dismissed, not Yvette Cade’s request to keep the order in place. What happened, of course, is that the order was lifted, and then estranged husband Roger Hargrave “allegedly” showed up at his wife’s workplace, threw gasoline on her, and set her on fire.

Of course, the protective order might not have made a difference; sick fucks like Hargrave are going to do whatever they’re going to do. But, as an editorial in today’s Post makes clear, that doesn’t excuse Judge Palumbo’s open contempt for the frightened woman who was in his courtroom:

Ms. Cade: Well, your honor, he’s violating the peace order. He’s contacting my family. He’s still contacting me. He’s intimidating my daughter, and he’s vandalizing other people’s property. I want you to look at these pictures. He has a girlfriend, friend, who’s like, contacting me, giving me cards. And I don’t want, uh, I want an immediate absolute divorce.

Judge Palumbo: Well, I’d like to be six-foot-five, but that’s not what we do here. You have to go to a divorce court for that.

Ms. Cade: Ok. Well, I want you to look at these pictures, because I don’t want him to continue to think —

Judge Palumbo: Uh, this case is dismissed — at the request — of — the petitioner.

Ms. Cade: He was trying to force me to go to marriage counseling.

Judge Palumbo: It might not be a bad idea, if you want to save the marriage.

Ms. Cade: I don’t want to, because —

Judge Palumbo: Well, then you’re in the wrong place. Get a lawyer and go to divorce court. This petition is denied — or dismissed. I mean it’s silly! You have any children?

Ms. Cade: No.

[cross talk]

Judge Palumbo: Just get a lawyer, and get a divorce. That’s all you got to do. Get a lawyer and go to family court and get a divorce.

Ms. Cade: You told him that the last time.

Judge Palumbo: No, no, no, no! Ma’am, you can get a lawyer and go. He doesn’t have to get it. You can go!

Ms. Cade: He’s like stalling me.

Judge Palumbo: Look. Do you work?

Ms. Cade: I do, but I have a lot of bills.

Judge Palumbo: Everybody’s got bills! . . . . Go see a lawyer — a divorce lawyer.

Ms. Cade: A lawyer costs a lot of money.

[Judge P:] Madam, if you want a divorce —

Ms. Cade: I do.

Judge Palumbo: — go get a lawyer. . . . I can’t be your lawyer. I’ve got to be independent, you know, like an umpire.

The umpire strikes out. I may have been a bit harsh in calling him a “major-league asshole,” though… let’s just say he acted like a big-time butthole.

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